Norð Brenneri - From Oslo - Featured Guest roaster in November – Bean Bros.

Norð Brenneri - From Oslo - Featured Guest roaster in November

It’s November, we are in Norway with Norð Brenneri!

The year is fast coming to a close, winter is spreading across the North but we continue to share hope and warmth. It is a great pleasure to be bringing you a superb set of roasted coffees from Norway, and a roaster we have not featured before. 

Keep an eye on our Insta and website, as we have more great products on offer to help get the most from your coffee, as well as a holiday box to beat all holiday boxes!

We spoke to the team at Norð, full interview on our website and lighter version in with your coffee box!

Interview by Kris Thurbin

Tell us a bit about Norð; the team, your offerings, your values…

Norð Brenneri is a small team of coffee enthusiasts with a goal of bringing fantastic coffee experiences as directly as possible from the farmer to wherever you enjoy your coffee break. 

Founded by Joakim Strand as Grünerløkka Kaffehus in 2012, coffee was merely an addition to his already exciting bakery and coffee shops. After a couple of years of learning, consulting with other roasters and experimenting, Norð was born in bad handwriting on a napkin in a London cocktail bar! 

After upgrading from a Probat 12 to a Diedrich 25, moving out of the basement of a coffee shop to a more industrial venue, hiring a couple of die-hard coffee nerds and refreshed packaging design, Norð Brenneri has grown up. 

The team today consists of:

Joakim Strand: Owner and General Manager
Andreas Berge Rød: Operations Manager
Ida Nordgaard: HR and Assisting Manager
Alexander Monsen: Coffee Roaster and Quality Controller
Marek Adamiec: Coffee Roasting Trainee
Håvard Netsilb: Packing and Logistics 

Coffee in Oslo…What are some of the advantages and disadvantages for running this kind of business in an area of coffee & food excellence!

Oslo is surely a destination for amazing coffee and food. That makes for a demographic that is very knowledgeable and demanding, a competitive market with new micro roasteries popping up all the time. This keeps us on our toes and drives us to challenge our own strategies, work with innovative ideas and ways to market all the time. 

Are you sourcing through established suppliers or any direct relationships with origin?

We source our gross volume from direct relations. Brazil is by far the largest volume as this is the flavor profile most Norwegians are accustomed to.

In 2019 we went to Ethiopia and sourced a large part of our line up directly from there. In February this year we went to Kenya and sourced two Kenyan batches and one Tanzanian batch from a private exporter there. Two of them featured with Bean Bros this month!

For smaller batches we use established suppliers like Trabocca, Caravela who can provide great single origin coffee with full transparency. 

How do you profile for roasting – are there particular concepts you feel are specific to what you want to achieve, or put in the cup?

We look for a balanced and clean flavor profile in every coffee. Highlighting fruity qualities with a perfectly balanced acidity and sweetness. Our selection ranges from classic, sweet, chocolate and nutty tones in the Brazilian to funky, tropical, fresh acidic Tanzanian natural. A candy shop for coffee lovers!

How do you run cupping at the roastery?

Alexander does quality control of all batches weekly. For calibrating and when cupping pre-shipment offer samples, the whole team join for a cupping session in which we discuss everything from aroma and flavor notes to the constellation of our lineup.  

Great selection for this month, tell us a bit about them.

Kenya Kibari Estate and Tanzania Mlama Farm are coffees we sourced during our trip to Kenya earlier this year. The goal was to find a way to import coffee through what is known as «the second window» in Kenya. Directly traded from a private exporter as opposed to the government controlled auctions, and not necessarily the typical flavor profiles we often get from Kenyan coffees. 

We met with Vava Specialty Coffee. We were really impressed with the work Vava Angwenyi does at origin, the quality of the coffees and the potential for a long-lasting relationship where we can be a part of making a real change.

Kibari farm Kenya

Kibari farm in Kenya

Kibari is a refreshing and fruity washed coffee. Very clean and aromatic that leaves a sweet aftertaste of flower honey.

Mlama is a funky natural with wild tropical aromas. Really balanced and sweet, long aftertaste.

From Finca Alto de los Santos in Honduras we introduce a delicious, organic coffee. Imported by our friends at Pezo Import in Sweden. The producer’s co-op CAFESCOR (Cafés Especiales Corquin) is headed by Herminio Perdomo who owns the Alto de los Santos farm. 

The plan was to roast this coffee exclusively for our Christmas coffee this year but liked it so much that we felt like we had to share some with the Bean Bros subscribers! Expect a clean, sweet coffee with notes of milk chocolate, nuts and apple.

Any brew recommendations: recipes you would like to share?

We are a fan of V60 pour over. Dosing 60 g. per liter water.

As a general way to obtain the ultimate brew is with clean water, clean equipment and correct ratio of dosage, grind size and brew/contact time.

Use a grinder that will give you an even granulation of the beans. In your grinder is dull or of the kind that have a rotating blade, you will get a lot of fine powdered coffee and larger pieces. This will result in an uneven extraction. The fines get over extracted and the larger pieces (boulders) get over extracted.

With these, fresh and lightly roasted coffees there is a lot of aromas available. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of them.

  1. - Don`t grind too fine – try somewhere between filter brew and French press.
  2. - Pre heat your dripper and server.
  3. - Make sure your water is boiling hot.
  4. - Distribute the coffee evenly in the filter.
  5. - Bloom with about 50 g. of water for 30 sec.
  6. - Pour, ideally with a goose neck kettle, in circular movements to create a stirring effect. This is to avoid any of the coffee to cluster up in lumps.
  7. - Use 3-4 pours and aim for a 3-3,5 min. extraction. 

All coffees are different so it can take a little bit of testing to find the golden brew!

If you find the result too sour and tame, it`s most likely under extracted. Try a bit finer grind and/or slightly longer brew time.

If you find the result too bitter and pungent, it`s most likely over extracted. Try grinding a bit coarser and/or slightly shorter brew time. 

Whilst now is not the time to compete, what is your view on competition, and are there any that interest you particularly either as an individual or company?

Our coffee roaster Alexander Monser is a dedicated competing barista for many years. This year he got to 3rd place in the nationals in Classic Barista and 2nd in Latte Art. Ida Nordgaard got to 3rd in AeroPress back in 2016 and competed in cupping this year.

Alexander is hyped to compete in Brewers Cup as soon as it is possible, and always hungry for the W in Classic Barista!

Do you have any significant plans for 2021?

Our plan is to stand strong and grow as a specialty coffee roastery. We will keep working towards trading 100% of our coffee directly from farm and building relationships with even more of the amazing producers around the world. 

Depending on the development and how the world will be like after this pandemic, we would like nothing more than to travel and source coffee. We hope we can bring more fantastic coffee to our customers and at the same time be able to trade in a way that brings back more value to the farmers and pickers at origin. 

Any words of wisdom or hope to share with our subscribers at this time?

Coffee can be a ritual where you find peace of mind and a break from stress and worries. From the moment you open the bag, close your eyes and dig your nose in, to the mesmerizing collage of aromas, to focusing on the gram and second accuracy of the pour over brew process and having the first soul warming sip. A way to meditate or just that much needed moment to breathe.

Coffee can tell stories and inspire you to formulate your own. Sometimes a story can change the momentum and path of thought and have a larger impact than one can imagine.

As Vava Angwenyi says “Stories can be used to empower and humanize” 

When the going gets tough, stop and have your sip!

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